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African Journal of Business Management Vol. 4(12), pp. 2534-2545, 18 September, 2010 Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/AJBM ISSN 1993-8233 ©2010 Academic Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Determining medical service improvement priority by integrating the refined Kano model, Quality function deployment and Fuzzy integrals
Tsu-Ming Yeh
Department of IndustrialEngineering and Technology Management, Dayeh University, Taiwan, R.O.C. E-mail: tmyeh@mail.dyu.edu.tw.
Accepted 20 August, 2010

In recent years, owing to the rise in consumers’ consciousness with regard to health care quality, hospitals are constructively probing into the factors affecting patients’ satisfaction. This is to enable them identify technical items of medical services and to see it as apriority to utilize these items. Using quality function deployment (QFD) with the Refined Kano model, this study aims to prioritize above all the use of various medical service technical items as an improvement directed towards hospitals’ competitiveness. With the outpatient services of a hospital as the empirical case study, this study first collected the service requirements of the patients andclassified them using the Refined Kano model to decide the weights of each patient’s service requirements, then found out the different medical service technical items which the hospital provided to satisfy the service requirements, and utilized the Fuzzy Integral approach to calculate the improvement index of each medical service technical item in order to determine the priority of improvement. Withthe Refined Kano model analysis it is found that there are three high value-added qualities, seven critical qualities, five necessary qualities, another five highly attractive qualities, four less attractive qualities, and two care-free qualities. Further analysis of the QFD proposed the primary medical service technical items as staff training, facility safety, hospital location, cordialservice, equipment maintenance, and advanced medical equipment. This study presents a simple and feasible approach for hospitals to confirm the service demands of patients, to determine the improvement sequence corresponding with patients’ demands under limited resources, focus on the most attractive demands and the priority items for improvement, in order to enhance competitiveness in an efficient andeffective way. Key words: Medical service quality, refined Kano model, quality function deployment, Fuzzy integral. INTRODUCTION Both service and manufacturing industries place high importance on quality, which can affect customers’ satisfaction and thus the willingness to make a purchase (Oliver, 1980). Quality is a key determinant of consumers’ satisfaction (Gremler et al., 2001; Omar andSchiffman, 1995; Radwin, 2000), and it has also been recognized as a strategic tool for attaining operational efficiency and improving business performance (Jain and Gupta, 2004). Although the medical industry is different from general service industries, the high service quality is still a key success factor. In addition, scholars have indicated that patients and their family members should beconsidered as consumers for medical service providers (Milakovich, 1995). It is also important to manage consumers’ perceptions of medical service quality, as higher appraisals are closely related to satisfaction, and will thus influence the intention to use a service again in the future, a fact that is ultimately reflected in the financial performance of medical organizations (De Man et al., 2002). As aconsequence, promoting medical service quality to satisfy patients’ demands is a primary aim for hospitals that seek to be more successful. In the past, patients went to hospitals simply for medical treatment, so that such institutions emphasized their

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professional medical techniques. Nevertheless, with the enhancement of living standards and increase in the public general...
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